So, the game was controversial because it pulled the rug out from under players’ feet, and because it denied them the trademark experience they were expecting; but what about the game’s actual story? In part two we analyze the plot in order to find out whether its as convoluted as its critics have said.
Ever since the game was released, people who enjoy Sons of Liberty have defended its story by saying that it all makes sense if you really analyze it. It takes a lot of work to sort out the details, but it turns out that when you really analyze the story, they’re wrong. The story doesn’t make any sense.
It’s certainly not terrible by videogame standards, but it does get more embarrassing the closer you inspect it. So let’s start with the beginning of the Plant Chapter and break it down! We’ll be keeping track of major twists as we go, like this:
Twist #1: The Big Shell
Now pay attention, if you will.
The first story of the game revolves around taking pictures of a new Metal Gear being transported by the Marines. The first “twist” is the revelation that this was actually a trap set by Revolver Ocelot to frame Snake and steal the Metal Gear on behalf of Solidus Snake. Got that? For your own sake, I suggest taking the time to watch the clips I’ve put in the article to give yourself time to soak it in and follow along more easily.
Anyway, after a story takes a twist, it becomes a new story. In this case, the twist about the Tanker being a trap leads to a story about the President of the United States being kidnapped by terrorists, who’ve taken over the offshore clean-up facility “Big Shell”. The Big Shell facility was constructed to deal with the supposed spill from that same Tanker.
Now, of course, we were there when the Tanker was destroyed, so we know that the tanker wasn’t actually loaded with any oil, which means no cleanup facility needed to be constructed, right? The existence of the Big Shell is therefore suspicious already. Nevertheless, it’s our mission to sneak in and stop the terrorists.
You see, the President was taking a tour at the time, and now the terrorists are demanding 50 billion dollars in cash or they’ll kill the President along with their other hostages, and blow the whole thing up, which would destroy New York’s ecosystem. Sounds pretty serious, right? Thankfully, the government has an ace up its sleeve: a highly-trained black-ops organization which specializes in highly classified espionage. This top-secret group, named “Foxhound”, sends their trusted operative “Raiden” to deal with the situation.
Raiden, despite only having experienced combat in lifelike virtual reality simulations, manages to infiltrate the facility and makes his way to the President; but he soon discovers that nothing is what it seems.
But wait. The President, as it turns out, was actually helping the terrorists to stage the incident in order to gain leverage against a shadowy, all-powerful secret society known as “The Patriots”. Yes, this secret society is the true ruling body of the United States, pulling whatever strings they want in order to manipulate the world. And the reason for staging this incident at the offshore clean-up facility, “The Big Shell”? That’s because the facility is actually a massive research and development site for a hi-tech underwater fortress named “Arsenal Gear”! By threatening to launch a nuclear strike from Arsenal Gear, the President hopes to gain membership into the Patriots. Another twist!
However, the President has been double-crossed by the terrorists, and Raiden watches helplessly as he’s shot by the Russian mercenary known as “Revolver Ocelot”, who functions as the the right-hand man of Solidus Snake.
Who is Solidus? The terrorist leader, but also the former President of the United States. After his resignation from Presidency he decided to confront the Patriots once and for all, with a plan to detonate a nuke over the skies of Wall Street in order to create an EMP blast that would break their grip on global stocks and trading. He then wants to destroy the Patriots completely, using Arsenal Gear to track them down and kill them.
Twist #2: Arsenal Gear
The kidnapping of President Johnson was just a smokescreen for this secret plan to threaten the Patriots using Arsenal Gear.
Arsenal is revealed to be the nerve center for the Patriots’ shadowy scheming–a futuristic tool for digitally regulating every aspect of American life from the media to the military. The President was sent to the facility to check on its progress, but by capturing it and using it against the Patriots, Solidus believed he could free mankind from the tyranny of this evil group. Johnson just wanted to be initiated, and that’s why he was killed. The new mission is to stop Arsenal before it becomes fully activated.
Raiden races to stop the Patriots’ superweapon, but ends up being knocked out and captured. He wakes up inside Arsenal itself, where he learns even more about the layers of deception going on. It turns out that Raiden himself is a central component of a much larger scheme!
Revolver Ocelot, the right-hand man of Solidus, has not actually been working to accomplish Solidus’ plans — he was working for the Patriots all along! He orchestrated the entire Big Shell incident on behalf of the Patriots in order to expertly re-create a series of events that paralleled Shadow Moses!